Before going to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, I salivated over what I might find there. If you watch The Simpsons, you’ll remember that episode when Homer daydreams about the Land of Chocolate. Something like that was dancing through my head leading up to our visit.
Once we arrived, we took in the quaint architecture and the aroma of chocolate in the air. The only real parking (unless you don’t mind street parking and having to walk) is in the Ghirardelli Square parking garage. On a warm, sunny day when there are more tourists, it may be difficult to find space, so be warned!
Following the scent, we were led to the Marketplace and Chocolatier where there were rows and rows of all different flavors of chocolate. There were bags for sale, as well as individual pieces being sold in bulk. An employee handed us free samples of chocolate-covered caramels.
We left the store as it was very crowded, and made our way across the Square. The sundae shop also had long lines, but when we saw people walking out of the shop with large chocolate sundaes in hand, we knew we had to try one.
We stood in line—no easy feat with a double stroller!—and waited our turn. Glancing at the menu, I had no idea what to order. It all looked so delicious. Even though the sundaes averaged about $10, we wanted to taste an authentic Ghirardelli sundae.
I finally ordered just one strawberry sundae, as it looked large in the photo and we didn’t know if we could finish the whole thing.
The dining area was EXTREMELY crowded, so we were forced to wait until someone vacated their table. In the meantime, I showed Pumpkin the machinery used to refine and prepare real chocolate, the way it had been done when the factory was still located here. I restrained myself from pulling an Augustus Gloop and jumping in to scoop up the melted chocolate with my bare hands.
We got a table and soon after, our sundae arrived. I was so glad I only ordered one for us to share because that sucker was BIG. Surprisingly, Pumpkin, who is a very picky eater, wanted to share in the creamy goodness.
We spent the rest of our time there at the mermaid fountain just outside the sundae shop, and later walking down to Aquatic Park, which is a strip of beach. After playing in the water, we walked down the length of the pier and took in the beautiful views of the bay.
Aside from the chocolate store and sundae shop, there are some retail shops and sitting areas for people-watching.
It may not have been Homer Simpson’s Land of Chocolate, but it was a fun day out with the kids, and interesting to see a real confectionery landmark.